Master Chief is one of gaming’s most iconic figures. Standing at roughly seven feet in height and weighing nearly 1,000 pounds, he has the stature of a superhero. His exploits on the battlefield back up his size – a one-man army capable of turning the tide of war. We’ve seen how resourceful and powerful he can be in story sequences and advertisements, but many of those dynamic actions don’t cross over to when the player controls him. He can swing big hammers, pilot any vehicle, and run and gun with swift grace, but so can most combatants in the game. Prior Halo gameplay hasn’t made him look like the super soldier we envision. Enter the grapple shot, a new gadget in Halo Infinite that adds dynamic layers to this series’ beloved combat and makes Master Chief look like a gun-toting superhero.
The grapple shot’s most basic use gives Master Chief a boost in mobility. Fired from an arm-mounted device, the grapple rockets through the air a good 40 to 50 feet, and the second it connects to a surface, pulls Master Chief forward with just as much speed. Master Chief can use this device to reach heights he never could. He can also use it much like Spider-Man swinging on a web line to cover ground faster. Once the grapple connects with an object – like a tree, for example – Master Chief can cut the connection mid-movement to propel himself forward a great distance. If he doesn’t cut it, he will be pulled to the grapple point, which usually allows him to grab onto a ledge to climb up.
I can’t stress just how much fun Halo Infinite’s grapple-based movement is. It completely changes the way you look at the environment and how Master Chief can interact with it. No mountain is too high for him to ascend. Yes, you still cover ground faster in a Ghost or even a Warthog, but the grapple shot is the more satisfying way of moving around.
The grapple shot is surprisingly versatile, especially when applied to combat. If you see a weapon that is out of reach, or perhaps an explosive container, a carefully placed grapple shot will pull that item to you, allowing you to wield it immediately.
Enemies with shields often require repositioning or specific weapons to be used against them, but another carefully placed grapple shot will stun these foes and make them raise the shield for a split second – plenty of time to light up their exposed bodies.
Foes without energy shields can be viewed as moving grapple points. If you can latch onto them, the fight will quickly become intimate. In single-player, the grapple can stun foes, allowing for them to be finished off with a melee strike. In multiplayer, the grapple is best used to fell unsuspecting adversaries from behind but can make for exciting face-to-face moments, almost like a melee version of a high-noon showdown.
Long story short, the grapple shot adds dimensions to Master Chief, and using it successfully requires skill from the player. We always viewed this green giant as a super being, and thanks to this handy device, he truly fits that mold now. Halo Infinite is an excellently crafted game, and I think 343 Industries handled most parts of it with the care and attention that fans expect. The studio’s best work, however, is the grapple shot, an innovative element that truly takes Halo’s tried-and-true gameplay to exciting new places.